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Russia May Lift Ban On Online Poker

Supporters Say Legalization Would Bring In Federal Revenue, Benefit Professional Players

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Russia could find itself following suit with the United Kingdom and Canada by legalizing online poker, according to rapsinews.com.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has ordered Russia’s Ministries of Finance, Economic Development and Justice to analyze the option of legalization, according to the report.

It is estimated that online poker could bring in another 5 billion rubles ($146 million) per year to the federal government.

It was confirmed by Shuvalov’s staff that the government has until July 21 to carry out the instructions. The Russian government is taking the issue into consideration upon request from the Poker Union, according to a source familiar with the discussion.

Kakha Kakhiani, the president of the union, said he appealed to the Finance Ministry and the government to legalize online poker after the triumphant performance of Russian players in international tournaments.

Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev confirmed that his office is looking into the issue, but declined to comment on its position.

According to polls conducted on the issue, nearly 52 percent of respondents said that people should have the right to play poker while 24 percent were against it. The responses also showed 42 percent of Russians agree that poker is an intellectual game, while 25 percent disagreed.

Poker was officially considered a sport in Russia in 2007, protecting its standing. However, the Sports Ministry removed it from the national sports registry in June 2009, re-labeling it as a type of gambling, after several poker clubs were exposed for running as illegal casinos.

 
 
Tags: Russia